What if My Mother or Father Dies Before We Resolve our Relationship?
“I used to worry that my mother or father might die before we ever have any kind of understanding or resolution between us. As I grew in understanding about the truth and got to the bottom root of all the dysfunction, I was set free from that fear.” ~ Darlene Ouimet
It is one thing for me to worry that my parents might die, but it is a whole other insulting thing when people ask me how I will FEEL if my parents die and they ask it as a judgement question; a judgement against me. It’s all in the voice infliction; the tone they use and I used to react to that tone in the way that I reacted to it when I was a kid. That tone was meant to snap me back to compliant and ‘respectful’ and it worked on me. My “guilt, shame and self-blame button” was very sensitized.
People share with me all the time how folks throw the following statement and question at them; “your father/mother is getting old and is in poor health, how are you going to feel if he/she dies?” My response to this question is; “what does his or her health have to do with the reason that I don’t communicate with my parents?” My parents had their whole lives to make a positive difference when it came to me. They made their choices, and apparently through the grid of how these type of statements are meant to be taken, my parents choices are acceptable but my choice NOT to put up with abusive and disrespectful disregarding treatment is NOT acceptable? That is insane. It’s like people are so brainwashed by this whole thing that they don’t even realize how stupid it sounds to be told to accept abuse/neglect/disrespect just because ‘they’ are ‘family’.
I wonder why no one ever asks parents estranged from their kids “how are you going to feel if your son or daughter dies?” Judging by the way my parents act, they won’t feel anything.
There are laws in place to protect children from some of the things that happened to me. Why are my parents exempt from those laws? Why is it up to me to put their minds at ease as they get closer to their final days on this earth? If I will reap what I sow, why does that saying not apply to them?
When people say “Your mother is getting old; she is sick, what if she dies?” I still fail to see what her health has to do with any of this. That question is a rabbit trail leading nowhere. Do they mean that my mother is old so I should let ‘bygones be bygones’ and forget all about it? What does one have to do with the other? What does the fact that my parents are getting older have to do with any of this? What about ME? What about what happened to me? Why doesn’t that matter? That is what I am addressing now. That is why I don’t see them; because I finally understood that I mattered ~ even if I only mattered to me. I finally mattered enough that I stood up to the way that they treated me and said “no more”. And they refused to validate that there was ever a problem and they took the stand that the only problem was me, just as they always did. There was no place for my voice but none the less I HAVE a voice; and I have a choice too.
People will say ~”Your parents are getting old, you should give them a break”. Why doesn`t anyone ever ask my parents when they are going to give ME a break? I understand that my parents are not admitting to anyone the reason WHY I don’t see them, or why I drew a boundary in the first place, so I can understand people not telling my parents that they should make the effort everyone thinks that I should make, but I don’t understand why people stick up for them and try to shame me, when I HAVE legitimate reasons for not seeing them. This sick and dysfunctional family system has its roots in the universal and widely accepted belief that PARENTS have rights that their children DON’T have.
Most of the time people don’t even care to hear the reasons adult children have for not seeing their parents; they just tell these adult children they are wrong. They automatically defend the parents without even hearing or caring about the reason behind the broken relationship. That is offensive.
It is dismissive and discounting. It is even more offensive when the reasons for not seeing parents ARE revealed and people still judge the adult child to be the one in the wrong. That is what this “what if your parents die” question is about. It is about parental rights and entitlement ~ something that YOU as their child don’t have in a dysfunctional family system. People are so afraid that if they ‘hear you’ and validate your reasons for not having relationship with your parents, or for going no contact, that they might have to think about the dysfunctional relationships they have with their parents or even worse, with their grown kids. So often parents equate regarding their children as equally valuable with giving up their power and control over them. (and If giving up their power and control in favor of embracing equal value is something that they are not willing to consider doing, they insist on going down rabbit holes and changing the subject, always turning it back on the child, rather than giving their child a chance to be heard.)
Why do the controlling and abusive people have all the ‘human rights?’ When am I going to have the right to be treated with respect? What about me? It’s time that we stopped seeing the question “what about me” as selfish and self-centered! Why are these abusive and disrespectful people MORE valid than I am? When am I going to be VALID? And the answer to that question for me was “WHEN I DECIDED THAT I AM”
Something I had to realize and a big part of my healing process was that I am valid and that I have rights too. And I have the right to be treated with love and respect. If my parents are getting old or if either of them is sick, that doesn’t change the fact that I have rights and it doesn’t change the facts about the way that I was treated by them in the past. They are not sorry. They don’t acknowledge the abuse. They never wanted to change or tried to change. So why is it up to me to be there for them when they were never there for me? (and although I am well aware that they fed and clothed me, they housed me, they took care of my physical needs, SO WHAT?? They decided to have a baby, legally that is the least that they HAVE to do.) This whole subject is just another great example of the power differential between parents and children and however ‘socially acceptable’ it is, it is still wrong. I have equal value even if I am the only one in the world who sees that truth.
Just because so many people including my family don’t validate my equality, doesn’t mean I am wrong about it or that I don’t in fact have it. I do; we all do. Each of us, every single human being has equal value. I am not the one who is wrong for deciding that I was finally going to validate MY equal rights and value.
If my parents die before there is any resolution followed by reconciliation it isn’t because I didn’t try. I tried my whole life.
Please share your thoughts, feelings and fears around this subject of what if my parents die before there is resolution. The most common questions asked in this website and through private email are about the connection between healing and dysfunctional family issues. I answer several of them in the free guide available for download in the top right side bar here.
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